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Respiratory viruses are opportunistic pathogens that infect the upper respiratory tract in humans and cause severe illnesses, especially in vulnerable populations. Some viruses have neuroinvasive properties and activate the immune response in the brain.These immune events may be neuroprotective or they may cause long-term damage similar to what is seen in some neurodegenerative diseases. The new “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2) is one of the Respiratory viruses causing highly acute lethal pneumonia coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with clinical similarities to those reported in “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” (SARS-CoV) and the “Middle East Respiratory SyndromeCoronavirus” (MERS-CoV) including neurological manifestation. To examine the possible neurological damage induced bySARS-CoV-2, it is necessary to understand the immune reactions to viral infection in the brain, and their short- and long-term consequences. Considering the similarities between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, which will be discussed, cooperative homological and phylogenetical studies lead us to question if SARS-CoV-2 can have similar neuroinvasive capacities and neuroinflammatiory events that may lead to the same short- and long-term neuropathologies that SARS-CoV had shown inhuman and animal models. To explain the neurological manifestation caused by SARS-CoV-2, we will present a literature review of 765 COVID-19 patients, in which 18% had neurological symptoms and complications, including encephalopathy, encephalitis and cerebrovascular pathologies, acute myelitis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Clinical studies describe anosmia or partial loss of the sense of smell as the most frequent symptom in COVID19 patients, suggesting that olfactory dysfunction and the initial ultrarapid immune responses could be a prognostic factor.


This work was originally published in Neurological Sciences available at

This article is made available for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.



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